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This chapter examines Nietzsche’s thoughts regarding physically destructive struggle (Vernichtungskampf) and, more specifically, war. I contest the exclusively agonistic reading of his philosophy by showing that throughout his writings Nietzsche gives a wide variety of reasons as to why we ought to value mortal forms of combat. I further argue that many of these arguments are underpinned by a quasi-Schopenhauerian ontology of violent conflict. According to this ontology, the impetus to engage in physically destructive struggle is untransformable. Hence, war is ineluctable because humans are defined by an irresistible drive for violent conflict. The periodic release of this ever-accumulating urge is in Nietzsche’s view socially cathartic, and to this extent enables flourishing. This is problematic for his agonistic readers, however, since they take Nietzsche to be pursuing the transformation of destructive into constructive struggle. My solution to this apparent contradiction is to suggest that Nietzsche’s problematic conception of destructive conflict is for the most part confined to his early writings. As he moves away from Schopenhauer and toward the natural sciences, he reconceives destructive conflict as the contingent expression of a general impulse to overpower others – one that can obtain discharge in nonviolent modes of conflict.
The book concludes with a summary of how the greater part of Nietzsche’s mature thoughts on conflict form a systematic whole. In other words, we review how he can be said to prescribe destructive, agonistic, exploitative and exclusionary forms of conflict under distinct yet compatible sets of conditions. I then survey some of the ethical implications of this study, and gesture toward how, in light of our findings, we might profitably reformulate our conception of conflict. Though I advance a systematic reading of Nietzsche’s writings in this book, I do not wish to give the impression that my reading is free of remainders; I therefore close by highlighting some of the anomalies and tensions generated by my exegesis.
This chapter explores Nietzsche’s endorsement of agonal conflict (Wettkampf). I address three points of contention in the critical literature. First, commentators disagree about the relation of agon to physically destructive conflict. While some claim that the Nietzschean agon is distinctly nonviolent, others maintain that it includes physically destructive forms of conflict (such as war, for example). Second, there is disagreement regarding the social inclusivity of Nietzsche’s ideal agon: some claim that he wants agonal relations to be democratically realized across the breadth of society; others, though, maintain that he confines his endorsement to an aristocratic minority. Finally, there is disagreement regarding the means by which Nietzsche thinks that agonal moderation is concretely realized. Some maintain that such conflict merely requires a self-initiated shift of attitude on the part of the individual contestants; others, however, submit that agonal restraint can only be imposed externally, by means of fashioning a balance of powers within which contending parties are too equally matched to domineer over one another. I argue that for Nietzsche (a) agon is categorically nonviolent; (b) all can participate in some form of agonal contest; and (c) agonal restraint is founded upon a combination of self-restraint and externally imposed restraint.
We begin by surveying a rift that runs through the history of philosophy. On the one side stand those philosophers who denigrate conflict as a burden on human existence; on the other stand those who praise it as a productive, strengthening mode of relation. The goal of this book is to elucidate Nietzsche’s contribution to this debate. With this end in mind, we make a brief survey of the intellectual context that informs his unique understanding of conflict. We then turn to some of the key problems that face us in our attempt to extract a coherent philosophical viewpoint from his writings on this topic. First, his terminology is prima facie ambiguous, and it is often unclear what he means when he uses the vocabulary of conflict. Second, across different texts he can be found to positively and negatively value almost all subspecies of conflict. Third, commentators tend to focus on either the hard or the soft – that is, either the violent or nonviolent – aspect of Nietzsche’s philosophy. This gives the impression of there being a contradiction in his normative stance toward conflict. I close by giving an outline of the book and how it resolves these various tensions.
This chapter develops and tests hypotheses about possible influences that lie outside national borders. There are many good reasons to expect that domestic factors are not the sole determinants. We lay out a theoretical framework that systematically catalogues most of the possible international hypotheses: exogenous shocks and endogenous networks such as those linking neighbors, allies, and colonizers and colonies. We then test selected hypotheses about exogenous shocks and contagion – the spread of democracy outcomes from country to country through various international networks. Surprisingly, contagion at first appears to be real but so small that it could be ignored when studying domestic influences. However, for some kinds of contagion our analysis implies that the long-run effects grow quite large and must be taken into account if we want to understand how democracies develop and decline. This paradox leads us to conclude that international influences are a hidden dimension of democratization.
This chapter examines an overlooked connection between patriotism and paranoia, arguing that patriotic love conditions suspicion and enmity born from perennial uncertainty over others’ love of nation. In John Neal’s Seventy-Six (1823), love of country breeds both suspicious minds and suspicious affects. This historical romance of the Revolutionary War demonstrates that paranoia is a set of affects in addition to the mental properties for which it is more commonly understood. For this reason, paranoid patriotism becomes transmissible among persons – and in literature, through style. This observation is significant because literary criticism has traditionally emphasized paranoia’s affinities with narrative, particularly conspiracy theory, and, more recently, with interpretation, namely, the paranoid’s search for coherent explanation and order, or the hermeneutics of suspicion. Neal’s novel insists that we also recognize paranoia as a trait of style.
Nietzsche controversially valorizes struggle and war as necessary ingredients of human flourishing. In this book, James S. Pearson reconstructs Nietzsche's rationale for placing such high value on relations of conflict. In doing so, Pearson reveals how Nietzsche's celebration of social discord is interwoven with his understanding of nature as universal struggle. This study thus draws together Nietzsche's writings on politics, culture, metaphysics, biology and human psychology. It also overcomes an entrenched dispute in the critical literature. Until now, commentators have tended to interpret Nietzsche either as an advocate of radical aristocratic violence or, by contrast, a defender of moderate democratic contest. This book navigates a path between these two opposed readings and shows how Nietzsche is able to endorse both violent strife and restrained competition without contradicting himself.
How does conflict (both enacted and potential) change, shape, destroy and otherwise modify and affect material culture? In addition to these questions, this chapter examines how “things” can act as propaganda, as mechanisms of survival, and as creations of the destabilizing and stabilizing effects of war, peace, and the gray area in between. As scholars increasingly interrogate the meaning and chronology of war, peace, occupation, and the definition of categories such as refugee, how do they incorporate material culture?
The third chapter shows that Vladimir Nabokov, seeking to replace the superannuated form of national allegory, constructs a figure of supranational metonymy through chess. Critics have explained that the Bildungsroman is a novel of socialization that displays how an individual finds his place in a social world and projects a trajectory of collective progress. Like Beckett, though, Nabokov was a post-revolutionary expatriate who made his career in another language. One of Nabokov’s targets was the notion that novels offer national allegories. Reading Nabokov’s early novels, which feature Russian exiles who rove across the continent as if across a chessboard, I reveal the writer’s interest in crafting a “personal world” that travels well across borders. The figure of metonymy presents advantages over metaphor. First, elastic in scale, metonymy represents spaces smaller or larger than the nation. Second, where national allegories had to install generic template protagonists at their narrative centers, supranational metonymies stress individual idiosyncrasy, accommodating abnormalities; they reject the premise that there can be such a thing as a generic national character.
In this paper, I tackle a difficult question about “enemy love,” with C.S. Lewis as a primary guide. In the Christian political tradition, can the command to “love thy enemy” be reconciled with the military task of killing one's opponent in war? After defining love, enemy, and enemy love, I move on to violence, particularly lethal violence. I disagree with perceptive contemporary Christian political ethicists Nigel Biggar and Marc LiVecche insofar as they argue that the killing of one's enemy can be “an expression of love” towards them. Such language obscures its moral ambiguity and is strictly speaking false. One may perhaps love one's enemy despite killing them, not by killing them. Lewis's conceptual distinction between “absolute” and “relative” love helps to untangle the knotty nature and limits of enemy love.
The introduction sets down the blueprint and specifies how the argument builds upon existing understandings of the novel. Taking as my starting point the critical reluctance to acknowledge Defoe as the first English novelist, I trace the interdependence of Enlightenment thought, accounting practices, and literary realism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. I also offer an overview of how theories of the novel have depended on the conceptual scaffolding of the antinomy. Long deployed by philosophers to structure unwieldy abstractions, the antinomy functioned also as tool to grasp the most diffuse of literary forms. Hence theorists as various as Erich Auerbach, Georg Lukács, Michael McKeon, and Frederic Jameson all posit that the novel is built in the tense field opened between opposing forces. By contrast, Adorno’s model of the Leibnizian monad asserts that art is always already tainted by the outside world, partly constituted by empirical logic. Over the more popular antinomic construction, I follow Adorno’s conception of art as absorptive monad . I further explain the book’s focus on select Anglophone writers and the three prerequisites for aspiring to speak for the world.
Over the past five decades, Eastern Europe has seen relatively little in terms of terrorist attacks. The recent escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict has, however, placed a new spotlight on the region, and new questions and concerns around war, conflict, insurgency, and terrorism are being posed. The Russian invasion and extensive combat operations, the largest in Europe since World War II, are occurring across Ukraine where there are 15 active nuclear reactors, not including the Chernobyl site, that are vulnerable to attack or sabotage. In addition, Eastern Europe has been heavily affected by COVID-19, exposing broad vulnerabilities in an otherwise fragile health care system. This raises concerns over the ability of Eastern European health care institutions to absorb surge and manage terrorist attacks or acts of violent extremism. This study provides an epidemiological description of all terrorism-related fatalities and injuries in Eastern Europe sustained from 1970 – 2019.
Data collection was performed using a retrospective database search through the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). The GTD was searched using the internal database functions for all terrorism events which occurred in Eastern Europe from January 1, 1970 - December 31, 2019. Years 2020 and 2021 were not yet available at the time of this study. Primary weapon type, country where the incident occurred, and number of deaths and injured were collated. Results were exported into an Excel spreadsheet (Microsoft Corp.; Redmond, Washington USA) for analysis.
There were 3,901 terrorism-related events in Eastern Europe between the years 1970 and 2019, inclusive. In total, the attacks resulted in 5,391 deaths and 9,538 persons injured. Explosives were the most commonly used weapon type in 59.2% of all attacks in the region, followed by firearms in 27.6%.
From 1970 through 2019, a total of 3,901 terrorist attacks occurred in Eastern Europe, inflicting 5,391 deaths and 9,538 injuries. Of those, 72.3% occurred in Russia and Ukraine. Terrorist attacks sharply declined since the peak in 2014, but there is an overall uptrend in attacks since the 1970s.
Chapter 1 immerses the reader into the Za'atari refugee camp. Situated in Jordan just seven and a half miles south of the Syrian border, the camp – a two-square-mile rectangle divided into twelve districts – is nestled in the very heart of the Middle East. Here, in the desert heat, a community was born in the swell of crisis. The reader is immediately introduced to the book's three featured Syrian women entrepreneurs – Yasmina, Asma, and Malak – in their elements. Yasmina, a salon and wedding dress shop owner, is relaxing in the salon with her family as her client celebrates a beautiful wedding a couple of districts away. Asma, a social entrepreneur and teacher, is reading a story to a group of children – including three of her own – in her trailer, which she has converted into a magical hideout for the children. Malak, an artist, is putting the finishing touches on a series of drawings for an event at a youth center that is meant to encourage the girls in Za'atari to push against the harmful practice of child marriage.
Chapter 12 features the three entrepreneurs discussing their hopes for the future. Despite its progress, Za'atari still faces significant challenges in terms of basic resources and opportunities. So each entrepreneur represents a different hope. Yasmina, as the oldest of the group, discusses the ultimate hope within residents: that there will be lasting peace in Syria and they can return home. Asma considers another hope many have: resettlement to new communities. She talks about her potential resettlement to Canada after recently being interviewed at the embassy in Amman, and what it would mean for her children to have more consistent, higher quality education. Malak discusses the hope that, even if she is to remain in Za'atari for long, it will be better resourced so all children will have the opportunity to realize their God-given gifts. Her most recent painting of a woman, covered in vibrant colors and looking upward, represents this hope – as she accepts her life in Za'atari for now and sees her purpose as living out her gifts boldly as a role model for the children around her. In this spirit, the book ends with a poem by Asma about the hopes and dreams of Za'atari.
Chapter 4 provides an overview of today’s global refugee crisis, driven by perspectives of refugees around the world. The Syrian war has displaced a stunning half of Syria’s prewar population, with nearly 80,000 of those Syrians having fled to nearby Za'atari; the UN calls it “the biggest humanitarian and refugee crisis of our time.” But it is only a part of a broader global crisis: today, more people than at any other time in history have been forcibly displaced from their homes. More than twenty-six million refugees, over half of whom are children, have fled their home countries entirely. This chapter provides a brief exploration of the major crises causing displacement, from instability in Central America and Afghanistan, to the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, to wars in South Sudan and Yemen. And it considers where most refugees end up: in host cities, in refugee camps, and – unfortunately only on rare occurences – resettled permanently in adoptive cities. It discusses how, due to continuing conflicts and tightening restrictions on acceptance of refugees, refugee camps are increasingly becoming like permanent settlements, despite their intended role as temporary safe havens.
Chapter 9 is about the present impact of the three entrepreneurs’ ventures, alongside many others, on the Za'atari community. A far cry from its makeshift origins, Za'atari is now much like a city. The Shams-Élysées, the Saudi Market, and other areas are buzzing as more than 3,000 businesses generate about $13 million in revenue a month and serve community members. These include bird shops, a cinema, sustainable farming solutions, and, of course, the ventures launched by Yasmina, Asma, and Malak. Yasmina is bringing profound joy into the lives of women across Za'atari. She helps brides feel special, valued, and beautiful, sometimes after a long period of feeling forgotten. Asma is uplifting Za'atari's children to reach for their highest aspirations. Much to her delight, her apprentice Nawara creates her own version of the storytelling initiative that is widely attended. In addition to running her studio with Treza, Malak repeatedly uses her art to empower the children around her, especially on the issue of child marriage. She designs twenty powerful drawings that are presented to girls during a workshop, empowering them to push back against such arrangements.
Chapter 8 describes the extraordinary obstacles facing refugee entrepreneurs and explains why – despite these challenges – refugees excel as entrepreneurs. Refugees face the steepest of uphill climbs, dealing with everything from trauma to a lack of access to credit to discrimination to limited networks. Still, they are much more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born citizens. Refugees’ sparks are not accidental; they have unique qualities based on their experiences that make them more likely to come up with, and successfully see through, startup ideas. First, many refugees innovate because it is their only way to survive, and are thus immensely committed. For Yasmina, innovating was a requirement to feed her children. Second, refugees benefit from exposure to other cultures' ideas and markets. One appeal of Malak's work is her ability to infuse Syrian flair. Third, refugees, far from home, are often intensely motivated to meet the needs of their new neighbors and find innovations to do just that – as Asma did for Za'atari. Fourth, they are often pushed to entrepreneurship by employment discrimination. Fifth, they have an unmatched level of resilience.
Chapter 2 goes back in time to the three entrepreneurs’ lives in a peaceful prewar Syria, and their flights to safety in Za'atari. All three lead comfortable lives before the sudden, life-altering events of the Arab Spring: protests in Dara'a, the Syrian government’s violent response, and families fleeing homes amid subsequent fighting. Yasmina is living out her childhood passion, running a salon and wedding shop in Dara'a. Her family flees when she is seven months pregnant; on the way to Za'atari, they shelter in others' homes and abandoned schoolhouses, and her son is born premature. Asma grew up adoring school, but her lack of confidence and the busyness of raising a family kept her from her dream of teaching. Still, living in a large house with an olive tree in Dara'a, Asma enjoys her days reading to her children, Tamara, Ashraf, and newborn Maya. Just twenty days after Maya’s birth, Asma's family flees. Only a teenager and the youngest of thirteen siblings, Malak leads a joyful life filled with art, family, and friends in Damascus. She cries with her sisters just before leaving, unwilling to accept that the next morning she would wake up in a tent within a refugee camp.